All posts by Victoria Murgante

Victoria Murgante

About Victoria Murgante

Victoria is always looking for something good to read. Her claims to fame are taking guitar lessons from a friend of Raffi's (he was a great teacher!), contributing a three-word spoken part to a hard rock album in the early 90s, and owning a pair of pants that were hemmed by Michael Cera's aunt.

The Bookshop

One of the reasons why I love the show The Office so much is that by the final scene of the final episode one breathes a sigh of contentment, turns off the program and walks about the rest of the day smiling. When you take part in a story by listening to it, reading it, watching it (etcetera) there is a certain amount of trust involved. After all, one is investing a lot of time and (often) emotional energy into the exploit, and in the case of text and audio mediums has actively co-created the story in the mind and heart—oh, the betrayal that can be felt when a most beloved character is killed off senselessly or loses his fortune or has her dreams smattered! With The Office, every good thing that I could have hoped for the characters comes to pass. I won’t say what happens, but you almost experience that the unspoken agreement between storyteller and recipient has been carried out with supreme sympathy, to the point of being comfortingly indulgent (at least I did). Everything is as it should be.

The Bookshop is decidedly not one of those stories, but I liked it anyway.

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So Long, and Thanks for All the Fish

© Buena Vista Pictures

If you happen to see someone strolling along with a fluffy pink towel draped confidently over one shoulder today, or a sleek, pineapple-patterned towel peeking out of a messenger bag, or perhaps someone wielding a towel with alarming vertical orange stripes, there’s no need to panic. Today is Towel Day. In fact, you might congratulate your towel-toting fellow with a cheery, “There’s a frood who knows where her towel is!” exchange an air high-five, and then turn back to examining the restaurant bill you’ve been trying to work out for the past forty-two minutes.

Some useful facts about Towel Day:

  1. It is internationally observed.
  2. Participation involves carrying a towel around all day.
  3. Observers of the day are either fans of Douglas Adams and his Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy trilogy, actual inter-galactic hitchhikers, or both.

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Following Grandfather

Mem Fox, Alice Ozma, Jim Brozina, teachers, librarians, teacher-librarians and countless others agree that reading aloud to children is one of the most significant things we can do for them! Picture books are wonderful (they really are) but if you want to go exploring, there are also lots of amazing options (even for younger children and pre-readers) in children’s chapter books. Reading these kinds of books aloud to children is not only worth every minute of cognitive nurturing, but it’s also a great way to spend time together, slow down for a while, discover shared interests, and build a library of interesting things to talk about long afterward.

Image result for following grandfather rosemary wells

There is a wide range to choose from in the junior fiction section. Some books are brief, as short as three chapters long, and have lots of pictures. Some are thick as Montréal sandwiches with narrower margins, no pictures, and dozens of chapters. All can be found in the same place, with the label J FIC (for junior fiction). Because my three children are still relatively small (4, 5, and 7), I am always on the lookout for the sweeter, simpler of these chapter books. To that effect, I want to shine a special light on a book called Following Grandfather by Rosemary Wells. There is a lot going on in these five tiny chapters. It’s the story of a grandfather mouse and his granddaughter, Jenny, whom he takes care of while her parents are at work. Following Grandfather is also the story of an immigrant who made his way in a new country. It’s a story that celebrates seniors and their stories, a celebration of Italian culture, and the wisdom of loving the good things that you have. Continue reading